Courage to Green the Gap

Living at »Kaiser Friedrich« in Berlin-Charlot­tenburg

A building gap had emerged in surroun­dings dominated by listed buildings from the late nineteenth century. Space was restricted, party walls surrounded the vacant plot, the neigh­bourhood aesthetics dictated the form and the existing rear courtyards were confined. &MICA’s task was to create high-quality living space here despite the density. A lot of sketching and experi­menting with the model was done until the optimal form was found: the eighth design variant revealed the oppor­tunity for 5,000 m2 of living space in a confi­gu­ration that created three inter­con­nected courtyards and an aesthetic in which nature plays a central role.

All seven storeys are fronted by alter­nating balconies and loggias on the courtyard side, which the residents can plant as they wish. This creates a colourful façade garden. The green aesthetic is enhanced by the flat bars of the balcony railings, which – as a vibrant salute to the clients – are painted in the chrome green colour typical of Cologne’s bridges. The flat bars of the balust­rades are arranged at different angles. This counters the uniformity of the openings and creates a chequer­board pattern in the strong vertical of the courtyard façade. The façade to the street fits discreetly into the histo­rical context through its use of light grey concrete and anthr­acite-grey window frames.

Inside are 63 apart­ments, each with 35 to 125 m2 of living space. The set-back upper storey has spacious penthouse units with their own roof terraces, while the ground floor units lead out directly to the courtyard. The narrow courtyards are cleverly inter­con­nected, creating seamless passa­geways between them that provide additional, flowing outdoor spaces.



Living with »Kaiser Friedrich« in Berlin-Charlot­tenburg

Site plan


Ground floor

Standard floor


»Kaiser Friedrich« and Utili­sation of Space

Building for Light

To facilitate ample exposure to natural light under tight spatial condi­tions, the façades have been designed with generous use of glass.


Building for Space

The seven-storey building is designed in such a way that three courtyards are created from the confined courtyard area, thus expanding the public outdoor space. The verdant courtyards are inter­con­nected by spacious passa­geways that yield additional space for play, commu­ni­cation and community.

In conver­sation with Albrecht Maaß

»Greening buildings has an extremely positive effect, and fortu­nately it is becoming more and more common on roofs in new buildings. In addition to the already positive effect on the climate, the greenery protects the roof from the sun: the service life of the roof is extended and the surface tempe­rature is lowered.«

We turn all the screws.

We can have the greatest influence if we turn all the screws – even the small ones – as early as possible in the design process. In doing so, we must also question some demands or previous standards and be prepared to make compro­mises for the future, for a better climate overall.

Projekton Immobilien Berlin GmbH, Köln
Time Frame
2015 – 2020
Approx. 8,900 m² GFA
LPH 1 – 5 HOAI
Büro Schramm für Gestaltung and Luca Abbiento


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